The well-known Palais Rameau was conceived from the outset as a horticultural site open to all, dedicated to research and innovation. Fourteen decades later and in collaboration with the City of Lille, which has entrusted this emblematic site to our association by means of a 25-year lease, Junia would like to give it a new lease of life, all while respecting its spirit and heritage.
40,000 sq.ft.

This is the total surface area of the Palais Rameau, including the basement. The surrounding garden measures 60,000 sq.ft., not forgetting the 2,000 sq.ft. caretaker’s cottage at the north-western corner of the parklands.


Behind this complicated term lies a much simpler concept: an emphyteutic lease is really just a long-term lease lasting from 18 to 99 years in French law (and it can go up to 999 years in some countries!). Initially intended to enable the development of vast agricultural properties, today it allows an owner to rent a property over a long period of time, and to entrust its development to the tenant. In our case, the city has fixed the rental period of the Palais Rameau at 25 years.


The Palais Rameau was classified as a listed building in 2002, so it’s quite a unique place… This status does come with certain constraints, including the reversibility of the interior and exterior fittings that will be put in place, and the obligation to preserve its historical appearance. The fact remains that Palais Rameau’s visibility makes it the perfect place for an interface between the residents, students, researchers, and companies that will work there, thus respecting Charles Rameau’s wish (see insert). And the whole site will be involved: from Palais Rameau itself to the gardens and the caretaker’s house on Boulevard Vauban, the place will evolve in certain ways, but keep its history.


Palais Rameau has been a horticultural hub since its creation, and it will maintain this objective whilst also expanding on it. The garden and greenhouses will host full-scale educational, research, and experimentation spaces, creating a small ecosystem and a real testing ground for new techniques in agronomics (vertical agriculture, aquaponics, and hydroponics), robotics, the digital world and the environment (data analysis, geothermal energy, network energy efficiency), future agriculture, sensory analysis, short circuits, etc.


Respecting the spirit of an open site that was always designed to present the fruit of the experiments or innovations carried out there to the public is a governing principle of Junia’s ambition. Coworking areas, work rooms, small catering spaces, and an events and meetings area assist in the creation of a unique place for teaching, research, technology exchange, and initial or continuing training. The ‘future nutrition and agriculture’ testing ground will also act as an interface for the general public and scientific activity. The complex will be adaptable and sustainable, with the installation of an evolutionary technical platform that will be integrated into the Palais as it is. Thanks to a set of wooden partitions that can be easily moved according to user needs, the Palais will become a flexible and intelligent third place, a concrete embodiment of the principles of circular economy.

  • When is it coming?

    Thanks to planning permission and a permit to carry out construction on a historical monument obtained last December, the construction site should be operational as early as March 2020, with an opening planned for the end of 2021.